Health Insurance

Glow-Up for Less: Affordable Alternatives to Invasive Cosmetic Surgery

Are you interested in getting a cosmetic procedure but are worried about the costs? Recent advances in non-invasive surgery have created effective techniques that are both affordable and low-risk.

Plastic surgery has become fairly commonplace in Singapore, with even seniors going under the knife to make themselves feel and look their best. However, because traditional cosmetic surgery can cost several thousands of dollars, not everyone can afford these treatments. Luckily, newer procedures have shown to produce similar results to popular invasive cosmetic surgeries at much lower costs, making it more affordable for the average person. If you are going to make 2019 the year of both prudent money management and your glow-up, keep reading to find out the affordable alternatives to traditional cosmetic surgery.

Alternatives to Traditional Liposuction

People who want to attain their perfect physique but struggle with stubborn pockets of fat sometimes consider getting liposuction. However, it is a costly procedure with prices typically in the tens of thousands that not everyone can afford. Instead, healthy individuals who want a cheaper alternative sometimes turn to a procedure called CoolSculpting instead. CoolSculpting is a fairly pain-free procedure, can be done within an hour and has minimal side effects. It costs up to 80% less than liposuction and works by killing your fat cells with cold rather than sucking them out. Results generally show up 2-4 months after your treatment and you can expect up to a 20-25%% reduction in the targeted area.

Average Cost of Fat Reducing Procedures

This table shows the average cost of liposuction and alternative fat-reducing procedures in Singapore per session or per body part

Vaser Lipo is another relatively new alternative to liposuction that combines liquifying fat cells via ultrasound and then sucking out them through tiny incisions in your body. Some individuals also prefer I-Lipo, which is a noninvasive, laser treatment breaks down fat cells and disperses them into your bloodstream. Later, the fat is removed by your body's lymphatic system. Depending on the type of liposuction you choose and how many sessions of CoolSculpting you need, your costs may vary. Thus, you should consult with your surgeon or aesthetician to find the most suitable procedure for your needs and budget.

Alternatives to Face Lifts for Aging or Dull Skin

As youth remains the pinnacle of beauty, many people start turning to facelifts to keep themselves looking young. However, facelifts in Singapore are quite expensive, costing upwards of S$10,000. Instead, there are several other anti-ageing procedures individuals can consider, such as a thread lift or ultherapy. Ultherapy is an US FDA-approved ultrasound technique that works to contract tissue and stimulate collagen production—both things that lead to tighter, younger looking skin. This minimally invasive and relatively low-risk procedure costs 54% less than a traditional facelift, although it only lasts up to 2 years. Thus, patients who are not looking for permanent results or are fine with getting the procedure done every few years may prefer this alternative, although they may end up paying more over the long term.

This table shows the average cost, downtime, length of procedure and the time it takes to see the full effects of facelifts and alternatives to facelifts in Singapore

Thread lifting is another alternative to a traditional facelift. It is a minimally invasive procedure that involves inserting very fine sutures into the tissue of the face to lift and support the skin. It can also aid in creating a more contoured facial structure and reduces wrinkles. There are different types of threads that are used depending on the area of your face you want lifted. For instance, COG threads can be used for the jowls, eyebrows and nose, while a MONO thread can be used for cheeks, wrinkles and the forehead.

Last, Botox is another procedure that people use to pursue a youthful appearance. Botox has been around for 15 years, so it is a relatively tried and tested cosmetic procedure. It can also be the most affordable way to minimise small problem areas, with costs averaging S$200-S$300 for crow's feet or chin dimple reduction. However, you should be careful not to overuse Botox and go to a certified aesthetician, as faulty procedures can lead to weak face muscles or an inability of the face to express emotions. Again, we strongly recommend that you discuss any cosmetic procedures with you doctor before deciding on any procedure.

Addressing Facial Problem Areas While Retaining Your Unique Beauty

Many of us have something we are insecure about when it comes to our faces. But committing to a permanent procedure such as a rhinoplasty or implants can be as risky as it is expensive. While the majority of facial reconstructive surgery yields successful results and technological developments have made it safer, the long recovery time and cost can be a barrier to entry for some people. Thus, those who are looking to change parts of their face sometimes consider several new non-invasive procedures such as derma-fillers like Juvederm or Restylane instead of an implant or rhinoplasty.

This graph shows the average cost of popular fillers in Singapore

Considering that the cost of a chin implant ranges between S$4,700 and S$6,400 and a rhinoplasty costs between S$3,000 and S$8,000, minor cosmetic enhancements are much less expensive. Another benefit from utilising these methods is that you can typically reverse the results if you don't like them much easier than if you went under the knife, although it is always best to confirm this with your doctor before proceeding.

You Don't Always Need Cosmetic Surgeries to Look Your Best

While it may seem like plastic surgery is the miracle cure for all of your aesthetic concerns, it is not the only way to keep yourself looking and feeling your best. For instance, not smoking, cutting back on alcohol and wearing sunscreen are good (and inexpensive) methods of keeping your skin looking healthy and avoid premature wrinkles. For a bit of extra help, people also seek out spa treatments such as microdermabrasions or chemical peels to rejuvenate their skin.

As boring as it sounds, proper diet and exercise are also good ways of keeping your body in shape. Not only will proper diet and exercise make you look better, but research has shown that exercising releases endorphins—making you feel better too. If you are still fairly young and aren't looking for significant structural changes to your face or body, simply taking care of your skin, diet and overall health can keep you looking young and healthy throughout your life.

What to Know Before Any Cosmetic Procedure

Most cosmetic or elective surgeries will not be covered by your health insurance. This is because as much as you may think you need it, insurers only cover procedures that are medically necessary. This includes a breast reconstruction surgery after breast cancer, skin reconstruction after severe burns or reconstruction after an accident. Second, you should only go to a healthcare professional that is licensed and accredited by the Ministry of Health. While we focused on minimally invasive procedures on this list, it is still imperative that the clinician who treats you has all the proper qualifications in order to avoid unpleasant side effects.

While it's nice to pamper yourself and feel your best, getting plastic surgery is a serious undertaking and should be done only when you are confident in your decision. Furthermore, you should ideally make the decision to undergo any altering beauty procedure in adulthood. This is because teenagers are still developing mentally and physically and may not be able to psychologically handle the ramifications of permanent facial and bodily reconstruction. Instead, if you find your child wants to undergo cosmetic surgery due to peer pressure, you should work on teaching them self-love, mental resilience and confidence.

Anastassia Evlanova

Anastassia is a Senior Research Analyst at ValueChampion Singapore, evaluating insurance products for consumers based on quantitative and qualitative financial analysis. She holds degrees in Economics and International Business Management and her prior working experience includes work in the capital markets sector. Her analyses surrounding insurance, healthcare, international affairs and personal finance has been featured on AsiaOne, Business Insider, DW, Vice, Her World, Asia Insurance Review, the Australian Institute of International Affairs and more.

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